Building Great Places to Work

December 11. 2012

Emerging Practices & Innovations Among Top Employers

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December 11. 2012

Each year brings new practices and innovations to the workplace and 2013 will be no exception. In NorthCoast 99 program, we collect information about the creative tactics employers use to attract, retain, and motive employees and we’ve compiled some emerging practices and innovations (with links to case studies embedded) that forward-thinking companies are using to create a great workplace.

Mobile recruiting. With more job seekers using mobile devices, a handful of NorthCoast 99 winners have started using mobile applications to recruit by not only developing applications, but making sure their websites, job postings, and application process are mobile-friendly.

Dynamic and engaging content. Some NorthCoast 99 winners are creating engaging, personalized recruiting content for their job seekers such as employee-written blog posts, videos, graphics, photos, and other types to engage applicants in learning more about their organization and culture.

Hiring assessment. Several NorthCoast 99 winners have designed unique hiring assessment approaches to find top performers including job tryouts, assessment tools, and other experimental hiring tactics.

Learning “bits and bytes.” Some NorthCoast 99 winners are moving to short forms of learning to supplement classroom and online training. Short lessons, articles, podcasts, videos, learning games, etc. are now used by some winners to reinforce concepts participants learned in training.

Future leader initiatives. A number of NorthCoast 99 winners have created targeted, strategic future leadership and management development programs for unique groups of employees such as young professionals, thought leaders, and technical leaders.

Coaching and mentoring. Forward-thinking employers like many of the NorthCoast 99 winners are using formal and targeted one-on-one coaching and mentoring relationships and programs to a greater degree to supplement training and development initiatives.

Advancement resources. Some employers are moving towards creating specific resources to provide greater clarity regarding how employees can advance in their organizations. Such resources include interactive matrices and maps as well as career management websites and tools.

Line of sight programs and campaigns. Some NorthCoast 99 winners have implemented programs, initiatives or campaigns to communicate to employees how their work matters and has purpose – to their organizations, customers, and even the world.

Holistic wellness. A number of NorthCoast 99 winners are broadening the focus of their wellness programs, implementing tactics to improve employees’ social, emotional, financial, and even spiritual well-being.

Flexible workforce. Telecommuting, virtual work options, and creative alternative scheduling practices are gaining ground as some workplaces provide more flexible options that support employees’ work/life and can be customized to their personal needs.

Employee services. Innovations in services offered to employees continue to expand with more employers offering unique services such as concierge, holiday gift-wrapping, a hair salon, coffee bars, a seamstress, and more.

Engagement. Some organizations are creating programs to reinforce employee engagement like “engagement employee groups” to implement tactics to enhance engagement and create an engaging work culture.

Innovative cultures and workplace environments. For some employers, traditional workplace environments of stale wall colors and cubicles have been replaced with vibrant, open work environments equipped with areas for collaboration, tools for innovation, and an atmosphere that contributes to creativity.

These are just a few of many innovations we see in the NorthCoast 99 program, but perhaps are some of the most notable ones from 2012. The NorthCoast 99 winners consistently tackle and solve traditional workplace problems with new, innovative solutions. For more ideas and information about workplace innovations, consult the 2012 NorthCoast 99 Winners Report.


December 3. 2012

How to Become an Employer of Choice in 2013

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December 3. 2012

Employers of choice are known for having lower turnover, better productivity, more engaged employees and customers, and a stronger bottom line. They also often enjoy greater access to skilled talent because talented employees choose to work for them and stay with them over their competitors.

ERC is often asked by employers, "How do we become a great workplace?" Becoming an employer of choice is an incredibly worthwhile goal that many organizations embark on to improve their chances of landing the best talent and keeping it. The transition doesn't happen overnight, however. Here are steps to start the journey to becoming a great workplace.

1. Set a strategic goal. Organizations that achieve recognition as an employer of choice make a choice to become one. They set a strategic goal which makes becoming a great workplace a priority and guides many of their other organizational goals and initiatives.

2. Get your leadership team onboard. A goal to become an employer of choice will fail without top leadership support. Make sure you have the right people on your leadership team who are engaged in this vision and who support it in word and action.

3. Define a top performer. Becoming an employer of choice is all about talent, specifically attracting the best talent as well as retaining it. In order to do this, you need to define a top performer at your organization. What characteristics and competencies do they have? What behaviors do they exhibit? How are your superstars different than other employees?

4. Evaluate your practices. Seek a baseline. You need to know how your organization stands up against employers of choice. Compare your numbers, metrics, and practices. Apply for awards programs such as the NorthCoast 99 award which provide you with rich benchmark information, like the 2012 NorthCoast 99 Winners Report. In addition, participate in surveys to gather benchmark information from other employers.

5. Start an employee survey initiative. Nearly every employer of choice has one and they use it to make positive changes to their workplace. You must understand how your employees view your workplace and if they are satisfied, committed, and involved with their work. Annual or bi-annual employee engagement surveys gather this information.

6. Create an action plan. Once you have data on how you stack up, list areas of the workplace that are strong and areas that are in need of improvement to become an employer of choice. Next, list the barriers to improving the weaker areas. Create action plans to...

  • Maintain strengths.
  • Improve weak areas of the workplace. Start with "quick fixes" and move on to larger initiatives.
  • Remove barriers OR creatively overcome them.

7. Invest in your workplace. You won't become an employer of choice without investing in your workplace. This doesn't mean you need to outspend your competition on employee perks. What it does mean is that you need to allocate cash and time to enhance areas of the workplace that are most critical to your becoming an employer of choice. Steps #3 and #4 will provide you with information on what those areas are.

8. Measure your progress. Set metrics or standards to measure your progress. Such metrics could be achieving 0% turnover of top performers or improving employee engagement scores by a specific percentage. Other metrics could be tied to certain areas of the workplace, such as compensation (90% of employees are paid at or above market), recruiting (achieving 0% turnover of new-hires in the first year), or training (i.e. 100% of employees attend at least one professional development activity).

Obviously, there are many ways to become an employer of choice, but usually, these tactics help tremendously in guiding organizations' efforts toward becoming a great workplace. Also, if you are thinking about becoming a great workplace or an employer of choice, or want to gain recognition for being an employer of choice, attend our free upcoming event to learn more about the NorthCoast 99 program.

November 27. 2012

5 Holiday Practices at Great Workplaces

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November 27. 2012

Great workplaces like the NorthCoast 99 winners do unique and special things around the holidays for their employees. They celebrate success, emphasize employee appreciation, recognize and reward milestones, develop unique traditions, and create meaningful experiences that make their employees not only feel valued for all that they accomplished during the year, but also feel proud to work at their organization. Below are five common holiday practices at great workplaces.

1. Holiday parties. Most NorthCoast 99 winners provide their employees with a holiday party or gathering to show appreciation for their contributions and accomplishments. Winners' parties take different forms - year-end banquets, luncheons, breakfasts, dinners, or even elaborate celebrations. They often include a unique theme, form of entertainment, or special surprise.

2. Community service. Many NorthCoast 99 winners make time to give back to their local communities during the holiday season. Winners coordinate community service activities around the holidays, participate in food drives and seasonal programs such as Adopt-a-Family, and donate gifts and other essential items to those in need.

3. Holiday gifts. Winners usually provide employees with holiday gifts. Gifts vary widely but can include iPADs, iPODs, gift cards, and cash bonuses. Sometimes these gifts are personalized to each employee. Gifts are often handed to employees directly by the CEO.

4. Holiday touches and gestures. It's not uncommon for NorthCoast 99 winners' CEO and/or leadership teams to write employees meaningful notes and letters during the holiday season to thank and recognize them. Top leaders at winners reach out personally and one-on-one to employees around the holidays.

5. Holiday support and flexibility. Some winners provide special support and on-site conveniences around the holidays. Some offer vendor discounts for shopping around the holidays; coordinate holiday gift wrapping services; provide special holiday schedules or flexible hours; and offer free holiday meals, baked goods, or hams/turkeys, and more.

In addition, below are a few examples of how NorthCoast 99 winners celebrate the holidays with their employees to further illustrate their holiday practices.

  • Akron General Health System hosts an annual holiday feast which brings all employees together. Employees participate in decorating and preparing the meal, which is served by members of its administration. Employees also enjoy one another's company.
  • Last year, Applied Industrial Technologies built a 7-foot "Canned Food Tree" from its employees' contributions in the corporate lobby. On December 22nd, the tree was disassembled and the contributions were donated to the Cleveland Foodbank for holiday meals.
  • OEConnection provides free holiday gift-wrapping services to its employees. The organization hires temporary workers to wrap and label employees' gifts to help reduce stress during the holidays.
  • Traditionally, Majestic Steel's top leadership writes thoughtful written letters to recognize employees' contributions to the business, and wish them a warm holiday with their families. Letters are personally addressed and include a grocery store gift card for Thanksgiving.
  • Senior management at The Center for Health Affairs has been known to close the organization's offices between Christmas and New Year's and pay employees for the time off to show their appreciation for a successful year.
  • U.S. Endoscopy's CEO and COO meet one-on-one with each production technician to thank them for their hard work and dedication. They personally hand employees their Christmas bonus check with a candy cane.
  • One of Vocon's owners/principals creates a colorful presentation highlighting all the past year's accomplishments and sincerely recognizes numerous employees and successes through verbal recognition and by providing creative gifts.
  • Lachina Publishing's CEO typically provides flexible hours during the December holiday season and also hosts a holiday party.

Holiday practices at great workplaces are celebratory, appreciative, unique, traditional, thoughtful, meaningful, and supportive - a reflection of winners' organizational cultures and work environments.


November 20. 2012

How to Create a Culture of Gratitude

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November 20. 2012

A culture of appreciation and gratitude is central to creating a great place to work. Sincere and frequent acts of recognition and appreciation help build a work environment where employees feel valued as people and for their contributions.

At NorthCoast 99 winners, rewards, recognition, and appreciation efforts are widespread. Most of these organizations have multiple programs and initiatives in place to recognize employees and show appreciation. Even more importantly, these organizations have created cultures that really show how much they value employees, and especially top performers. They understand how much their talent wants and needs to feel valued and appreciated for who they are, their talents, and their accomplishments. Based on our research of the winners, here are some tips for how to create this kind of culture.

Involve your leaders and supervisors.

Top leaders lead by example at winners. They are heavily involved in communicating how much they appreciate and value employees publicly and one-on-one with employees, and directly distributing rewards and recognition. Similarly, first-line supervisors at winners recognize and communicate their appreciation of employees' day-to-day progress and accomplishments.

Involvement of leaders and supervisors is essential. These individuals must be engaged in regularly showing appreciation. They must also want to recognize their employees for a culture of gratitude to evolve.

Develop a language of appreciation.

Creating a language of appreciation in your workplace is an important part of building a culture of gratitude. This language can be communicated verbally, in written form, or shown to employees via simple "thank you's," personal phone calls, emails, notes, or cards from leaders and supervisors; helping a coworker or an employee with a task; or setting aside some special time for employees.

For a culture of gratitude to develop, all of these gestures should become a norm at your workplace over time. In other words, the language of appreciation should be apparent at every level in the organization as well as consistently and frequently communicated.

Provide rewards and recognition.

Investments in rewards and recognition for your employees support building a culture of gratitude. Winners provide so many different types of rewards and recognition including trips, gift cards, cash bonuses, promotions, and career development opportunities. The levels and types of rewards often are varied and suit the recipient, their interests, and their level of achievement.

Rewards and recognition - beyond the simple thank you - are important for a few reasons. First, gift-giving or reward-giving is often associated with feeling appreciated by employees. Second, we've found that providing at least some formal rewards and recognition, even if they aren't necessarily part of a distinct program, is correlated with higher engagement and stronger perceptions of feeling appreciated and recognized.

Celebrate success.

Frequent celebrations, gatherings, and parties are another common way that appreciation is shown at winners' workplaces. Bringing employees together to celebrate and share success is a meaningful and fun way to create an appreciative culture over time. Plus, employees tend to really appreciate and value these types of events.    

Talent thrives in cultures that truly value and appreciate them and their talents. Based on our knowledge and research about how winners make employees feel appreciated and sustain workplaces that excel at recognizing employees, these tactics are crucial for creating a culture of gratitude.  

November 13. 2012

3 Characteristics and Examples of Effective Performance Management Systems

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November 13. 2012

Employers of choice like the NorthCoast 99 winners generally have highly effective performance management processes, as evidenced by the fact that their practices have led to 45% of employees (on average) receiving improved performance ratings, per the 2012 NorthCoast 99 Winners Report. Their performance management practices typically share three common characteristics.

1. Performance management is a cycle.

Performance management is not viewed as a one-time annual occurrence at winners. Instead it's an on-going cycle of performance planning (setting goals and expectations); execution (performing projects and tasks); supporting and developing (providing on-going coaching and feedback as well as training and development); and evaluating (reviewing performance behaviors and results against goals and standards; recognizing performance with rewards and promotions; or redirecting performance) that occurs between managers and employees and with the support of HR and leaders throughout the year.

Example: Clinical Research Management is committed to fostering a high performance culture and strives to provide each employee with clear performance objectives, on-going coaching and feedback, professional development, and recognition for outstanding work. During the performance management cycle at Clinical Research Management, top performers are given the opportunity to request additional assignments designed to grow their capabilities and skills in addition to receiving an assessment of their skill set and career goals. Employees also engage in a formal discussion with their managers to discuss career paths and advancement opportunities. Professional development plans are typically put into place for top performers at this time.

2. Performance management is a strategic business process.

Performance management is viewed as a business process, and not just an administrative HR process, that is critical and necessary for achieving high company performance. Goal-setting is a crucial element of winners' performance management practices. Organizational goals are "cascaded" down through the individual level and aligned with strategic business priorities. Talent outcomes like promotions, pay for performance, succession planning, and leadership development are linked to the performance management process.

Example: CBIZ defines performance management as a business process necessary for achieving sustainable high performance. Leaders are expected to model effective performance management behaviors and support the process. They are required to transition the perception of performance from just an HR process to something that is critical to the organization and for achieving business results. Leaders are held accountable for increasing the frequency and quality of conversations about performance expectations, feedback, and developmental planning. In addition, individual goals are aligned vertically and horizontally in the organization and leaders must tie performance management outcomes to all talent consequences like promotions, incentives, and succession planning.

3. Performance management is systematic and cultural.

Performance management does not simply include a performance evaluation and a performance improvement plan. Instead, performance management is a system of integrated programs, activities, and tools developed by winners that are consistently carried out at the organization. Additionally, an emphasis on high performance is a norm and expected behavior in the company culture. These programs and activities include...

Example: The Cleveland Foundation’s performance management process includes a variety of on-going activities. At the beginning of the process, each employee completes a self-assessment and identifies the goals or objectives they would like to work toward in the following appraisal period. The employee and their supervisor use the self-assessment to complete the performance appraisal and work together to develop challenging and achievable objectives. During the performance management process, developmental opportunities are also discussed and a plan for fulfilling training needs either internally or externally is created. Employees and their supervisors evaluate progress towards these objectives during bi-weekly meetings and at a midyear check-point. Employees are encouraged to address any obstacles preventing them from achieving their objectives at this time.

Many organizations don't achieve the results they want from performance management because their processes are lacking in these three areas...performance management isn't a cycle; it's not viewed as a business process that is aligned with strategy; high performance is not a cultural norm; and the organization lacks a system of integrated performance management activities, programs, and tools.

It's no wonder that most performance management processes do not produce, because based on our research on the NorthCoast 99 winners, performance management is the "crux" behind everything in their organization, including their business results.

November 6. 2012

The 5 Little-Known Factors That Affect Engagement

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November 6. 2012

As part of the evaluation process for the NorthCoast 99 award, ERC conducts an annual survey of top performing employees at applicant organizations to measure their levels of engagement. This year, ERC surveyed 4,280 top performing employees in Northeast Ohio. Additionally, ERC regularly conducts engagement surveys for organizations.

Many organizations measure and track engagement regularly, but often don't realize that certain factors - like age, tenure, education, and even industry - may affect engagement levels in their organizations. While it's widely known that engagement varies within certain departments, shifts, and other groups throughout the organization; over the past few years, we've identified a few less commonly known factors that affect engagement.

1. Younger generations appear less engaged than older generations.

It seems that age and generation appear to slightly affect engagement. Younger top performers seem a little less engaged than older top performers. They typically rate workplace factors which affect engagement like leadership, job design and challenge, rewards and recognition, supervision, organizational support, and autonomy lower than older top performers.

In contrast, older workers (age 51+) tend to be the most engaged and satisfied, except in the area of development and growth. Younger top performers were the most satisfied with their prospects for development and growth when compared to older employees.

2. Employees in the "middle years" are usually the least engaged.

If you have suspected that employees with between 3-5 years and/or 6-9 years of service in your organization are somewhat less engaged than your newer or more tenured employees, your hunch probably has merit based on our research.

Surveys conducted for clients as well as this year's survey of top performers show that engagement is generally lowest during 3-5 years of service and 6-9 years - or the "middle years." The areas that seem to be decreasing engagement levels for this group are perceptions of rewards, recognition, development, and growth.  

The "middle years" are often a risky time for organizations when employees consider leaving their organizations for "greener pastures." During this time, their job is no longer new and exciting, nor have they accepted their situation for what it is. Employees can grow disengaged if they have reached a career or compensation plateau, don't see opportunities for growth, are no longer challenged in their work, or don't receive adequate rewards in exchange for their efforts. They may also not feel as valued anymore. Therefore, targeted engagement efforts can be worthwhile for this group of employees. 

3. Employees with more education are often less engaged.

One might expect that the more educated an employee, the more engaged. The opposite seems to be true, and while the differences are only slight, they are consistent from year to year. In our survey, top performers with graduate or professional degrees were a little less engaged than top performers with less education. Gallup's studies on engagement validate these findings and also reveal that the highly educated are less likely to be engaged.

What's could be influencing their lower engagement levels? Top performers with more education tend to be less satisfied with their autonomy, supervision, and leadership. They also tend to need a high degree of challenge on the job, but may not necessarily receive it. Interestingly, these are the same areas in which they place quite of bit importance. Employers can likely increase engagement for this group by focusing on improving these areas.

4. The industry effect: employees in certain industries tend to be more engaged.

One rarely discussed trend in employee engagement is the industry effect: the fact that employees in some industries tend to be more engaged than others. According to our client norms as well as our research via the NorthCoast 99 program, there are definitely industry differences with regard to engagement levels.

For example, top performers in health and human services and professional services industries tend to be the most engaged. Meanwhile, top performers in technology and non-profit industries tend to less engaged than top performers in other industries. Manufacturers and other for-profit industries tend to have average engagement - generally not higher or lower than other industries.

5. Engagement is higher at employers of choice.

Top performer engagement is higher at NorthCoast 99 winners than at non-winners. Most notably, top performers at NorthCoast 99 winners tend to rate leadership, recognition and rewards, development and growth, and autonomy - factors that influence engagement - significantly higher. These factors tend to receive lower scores by employees, but are typically higher at NorthCoast 99 winners. 

Why does engagement tend to be higher? Our research shows that engagement, as we measure it, can be correlated back to the presence of certain workplace practices and thereby can be directly affected organizations. Employers of choice like the NorthCoast 99 winners tend to have more of these workplace practices in place, which are further described in our 2012 NorthCoast 99 Winners Report. Additionally, many winners track engagement and make workplace improvements to affect it.

If your organization cares about employee engagement, it's important to recognize that engagement can be influenced by these factors, and to understand those effects when making decisions that will affect the engagement of your workforce.

October 31. 2012

White Paper: Creating a Positive Candidate & New-Hire Experience

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October 31. 2012

This white paper is based on a detailed analysis of survey data and feedback collected from hundreds of new-hires on their organizations' hiring, selection, and on-boarding practices in the 2012 NorthCoast 99 application process. Specifically, the white paper summarizes:

  • What candidate and new-hire experience is and what it affects
  • The variables that influence candidate and new-hire experience
  • The differentiators between an exceptional and poor experience
  • The factors, as described directly by new-hires, that create a positive experience
  • Research-driven recommendations for improving candidate and new-hire experience

 Download the White Paper

October 23. 2012

Why Training & Developing Employees Matters More Than Ever

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October 23. 2012

Investments in training and developing employees may matter more than ever, based on new research findings by ERC. Not only does the 2012 NorthCoast 99 Winners Report report an increase in the average number of hours and the average monetary investment in training and development by employers of choice, but new analysis suggests that organizations are investing more time and money in training and developing employees and top talent, and that these investments pay off in lower turnover, higher tenure, higher employee engagement, and stronger promotion rates. Below are our key findings.

Finding 1: Investment in training and development, especially for top performers, is rising.

On average, this year, NorthCoast 99 winners reported that employees spent 47 hours on training and development, up from 41 hours reported by winners last year. Top performers spent even more time on training and development, with 68 hours reported on average per top performer - nearly 20 more hours than the per employee average and an increase of 11 hours from last year. Average monetary investment in training and development by winners followed similar trends, with the average dollar amounts rising for both employees and top performers.

Average number of hours that each employee and top performer spent on training and development at NorthCoast 99 winners

 Average monetary investment per employee and per top performer on training and development at NorthCoast 99 winners



In our research, these numbers are significantly higher than the averages reported by other employers, which typically hover around 30-34 hours and $1,000-$1,200 per employee, based on research conducted by the American Society for Training & Development.

Finding 2: Monetary and time investments in training and development are linked to turnover, tenure, and engagement.

NorthCoast 99 winners with the lowest investment in training and development showed 6% higher voluntary turnover of employees on average and 2% higher voluntary turnover of top performers than NorthCoast 99 winners with the highest investment in training and development. Similarly, NorthCoast 99 winners with the highest investment in training and development reported higher average tenure of employees, and more significantly, higher average tenure of top performers.

Additionally top performers at NorthCoast 99 winners with the lowest investment in training and development reported lower engagement and lower satisfaction with training and development practices at their organization, than top performers at NorthCoast 99 winners with the highest investment in training and development. Although both monetary and time investment in training and development were related to top performer engagement, larger differences in engagement and satisfaction with training and development were observed with comparisons of time spent on training. Thereby, those winners at which employees and top performers spent more time on training and development, reported higher engagement.

Finding 3: Organizations that spend more money on training tend to spend significantly more time on training, which tends to lead to higher promotion rates.

There appears to be a link between money and time spent on training and development by a significantly large margin. Although winners who made the lowest investments in training and development still spent an above-average amount of time on training and development, NorthCoast 99 winners who made the highest monetary investments in training and development for employees and top performers, reported spending significantly more time on training.

Average number of hours employees spent on training and development at NorthCoast 99 winners: Comparison of organizations making highest monetary investment and lowest monetary investment



Moreover, among winners that reported the most amount of time spent on employee and top performer training and development, the average percentage of top performers who were promoted in the last year was 7% higher (31%).

The bottom line: Training and development matters.

All of these findings, in addition to national research which finds that high-impact learning organizations outperform their peers (Source: Bersin & Associates), suggests that training and development matters - perhaps more than ever. More and more linkages are being found between investments in learning and actual business results, whether those are turnover, engagement, or profit margins.

Additionally, employers of choice like the NorthCoast 99 winners are raising the bar on investments in employee development, and the organizations making the greatest investments show quite distinctive and impressive results, so much so that not making the investment could be disadvantageous for your business.

Note about methodology: Winners cited as making high investments ("high investors") were winners that reported figures in the top quartile of monetary/time investment in training and development. Winners cited as making low investments ("low investors") were winners that reported figures in the bottom quartile of monetary/time investment in training and development.

October 9. 2012

4 Ways Great Workplaces Excel at Engaging New-Hires

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October 9. 2012

As part of the evaluation process for the NorthCoast 99 award, ERC conducts an annual survey of new-hires at applicant organizations to better understand the factors that contribute most to new-hire engagement and satisfaction.

This year, ERC surveyed 448 new-hires in Northeast Ohio. New-hires rated and provided comments about their organizations' hiring and on-boarding processes. New-hires also commented about their general impressions of their organization.

In our analysis of new-hires' responses, which are further summarized in the 2012 NorthCoast 99 Winners Report, four main themes emerged in terms of ways that NorthCoast 99 winners differentiate their practices when on-boarding and engaging new-hires.

1. Great workplaces are prepared and organized for new-hires.  

Consistently, new-hires at NorthCoast 99 winners say their organizations were well-prepared and had an organized approach for their arrival. New-hires felt that their workplaces provided them with the necessary tools, resources, and technology to do their jobs. This contrasts to new-hires at other workplaces who more often said their organizations were less prepared.

2. Great workplaces support and encourage new-hires.

New-hires feel supported by NorthCoast 99 winning organizations. They commonly alluded to managers and coworkers who were easily approachable, encouraged them, responded to their questions, checked in regularly, and exceeded their expectations in helping them gain familiarity in their new role.

3. Great workplaces invest in the training and development of new-hires.

New-hires felt that their workplaces did as much as possible to prepare and help them be successful in their new role. They cited that winning workplaces invested significant time and resources in their training and development, learning, and mentorship over their first several months with the organization.

4. Great workplaces make new-hires feel welcomed and accepted. 

Above all, new-hires felt warmly welcomed by winning workplaces. They believe that their organizations went to great lengths to make them feel welcome and comfortable in their first days at the company and made honest attempts to get to know them. New-hires felt as though their organizations valued them and were excited to have them on-board.

Finally, another interesting finding from the survey results is the relationship between positive perceptions of the hiring and on-boarding process and positive overall perceptions of the organization. In general, new-hires who were more satisfied with their organization's hiring and on-boarding processes, had more positive perceptions of their organization.

Coincidence? Likely not. A growing amount of research suggests that a positive on-boarding experience generally leads to higher employee engagement and more positive perceptions of the work environment, which may suggest that a good starting point for an engaged workforce starts with revamping your on-boarding program and making it a truly memorable and positive experience.

October 2. 2012

Social Media Increasingly Used to Recruit Top Talent

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October 2. 2012

Social media recruiting continues to rise in popularity, based on research conducted by ERC. Specifically, the frequency in which NorthCoast 99 winners use social media to find top performers has increased significantly over the past couple years, suggesting that its low costs and potential to successfully attract and source top talent are becoming more understood and used by employers of choice.

Prevalence of Social Media Use

Fifty-six percent of NorthCoast 99 winners say they frequently use social media to find top performers, compared to 37% of winners last year. Last year, 27% of winners indicated that they minimally used or did not use social media for recruiting, compared to only 10% of winners this year. Similarly in 2010, 76% of winners used social media compared to nearly all winners (96%) in 2012. Social media is frequently used in all types of industries, but slightly more prevalent among larger winners and services organizations.

Beyond simply usage, many winning organizations cite that social media is one of their most effective sources for sourcing top performers.

Percentage of NorthCoast 99 winners who use social media to find top performers

How Social Media is Used for Recruiting

NorthCoast 99 winners use social media for many recruiting purposes such as to broaden their sourcing strategies, promote career opportunities, identify prospective job candidates, and build relationships with talent. Below are 3 of the most common reasons that winners use social media to recruit applicants.

  1. Showcase their organization and culture. Winners post information, pictures, videos, stories, and other media or content on Facebook, You-Tube, and blogs to showcase their organization, current employees, culture, values, and career opportunities.
  2. Post and promote jobs. Winners use social media platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook to post jobs in which candidates may be interested. Jobs are frequently posted within specific groups and communities to attract specific types of talent and skills.
  3. Network and build relationships with potential candidates. Via social media, particularly LinkedIn, winners network with passive candidates, reconnect with past employees, join groups to meet talent, and search for special talent based on skills, education level, experience, and other criteria.

Employers of choice are clearly leading the way in using social recruiting to find great talent. For more information about the sources they use to recruit and how they hire top talent, access our 2012 NorthCoast 99 Winners Report.

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